AWT News Update: January 24, 2017

What happened in the world of Apple today? The company released developer beta versions of all of its operating systems, and we're starting to see what new features will appear in the next few months:

  • watchOS 3.2 gains Theater Mode and more powerful third-party Siri requests
  • iOS 10.3 will add Find My AirPods and better third-party Siri integration, weather data in Maps, an update to Mail's conversation view, and a whole new file system
  • macOS 10.12.4 appears to be getting nothing more than Night Shift, so you can rest soundly after playing games all evening
  • tvOS 10.2 gets accelerated scrolling for Siri Remote

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 24, 2017.

Yesterday, Apple released new updates to all of the various operating systems it produces. Today, the company released beta software to developers. So what are some of the changes we’ll see in the upcoming versions of the operating systems? Let’s start with watchOS 3.2. The new version is slated to add Theater Mode, which allows users to quickly mute the sound on the Apple Watch and avoid waking the screen when the wrist is raised. Users still receive notifications — probably through haptics so that we don’t hear beeping or dinging in theaters — and they can view those notifications by tapping the screen or pressing the Digital Crown. In addition, watchOS 3.2 is slated to have some enhancements to Siri. Previously, the Apple Watch could perform third-party queries by directing you to the iPhone. Now Siri will be able to perform third-party requests natively.

iOS 10.3 also has some big changes in store, with a Find My AirPods feature that lets users find their expensive earbuds if they’re misplaced. Siri’s third-party capabilities now allow for scheduling of ride-sharing services like Uber, and the ability to check on status of payments made through Siri. The Maps app will add the ability to bring up more weather information with a 3D Touch, and the Conversation View in Mail has been updated. But the big change will be a move to Apple File System or APFS, which was announced at the 2016 World Wide Developer Conference. This new file system will eventually be used on all Apple devices from the Watch to Macs. The update to 10.3 will migrate iOS devices to APFS, preserving all existing user data and settings, but a downgrade will be impossible after the migration.

How about macOS 10.12.4? The beta doesn’t appear to make any major changes other than adding a new Night Shift feature to Macs. This is similar to Night Shift on iOS, which shifts the device display to a warmer tone in order to keep users from experiencing sleep problems after using the devices prior to bedtime.

Finally, tvOS 10.2 beta brings an accelerated scrolling feature to the Siri remote, which should let users zip through long lists of content much faster than before.

The new betas will most likely go through a few months of developer and user testing prior to release, so expect to see the next iterations released in March or April of 2017.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.

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